, 151:544

Impacts of global changes and extreme hydroclimatic events on macroinvertebrate community structures in the French Rhône River

  • Martin Daufresne
  • Pierre Bady
  • Jean-François Fruget
Global Change and Conservation Ecology

DOI: 10.1007/s00442-006-0655-1

Cite this article as:
Daufresne, M., Bady, P. & Fruget, JF. Oecologia (2007) 151: 544. doi:10.1007/s00442-006-0655-1


We assessed the temporal changes in and the relationships between the structures of the macroinvertebrate communities and the environmental conditions of the French Rhône River (the river from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean Sea) over the last 20 years (1985–2004). Multisite environmental and biological datasets were analysed using multiple CO-inertia analysis (MCOA) and Procrustean analysis. Changes in environmental conditions were mainly marked by an improvement in water quality between 1985 and 1991 and by an increase in water temperature from 1985 onwards due to climate change. Improvement in water quality seemed to delay changes in community structures under global warming. We then observed trends in community structures coupled with high temperatures and a decrease in oxygen content. Interestingly, we observed both gradual changes and rapid switches in community states. These shifts seemed coupled to extreme hydroclimatic events (i.e. pulse disturbances). Floods and the 2003 heatwave enhanced the development of eurytolerant and invasive taxa which were probably able to take advantage of gradual warming environmental conditions. Despite various site-specific “press” constraints (e.g. hydropower schemes, nuclear power plants), similar changes in community structures were observed along the French Rhône River. Such consistency in temporal processes at large geographical scales underlined the strength of hydroclimatic constraints on community dynamics compared to specific local disturbances. Finally, community structures did not show any sign of recovery, and their relative sensitivities to extreme hydroclimatic events seemed to increase with time. Thus, our results suggest that global changes may reduce the resilience of current community states.


Climate changeDisturbancesHeatwaveRegime shiftOrdination techniques

Supplementary material

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Daufresne
    • 1
  • Pierre Bady
    • 2
    • 4
  • Jean-François Fruget
    • 3
  1. 1.Leibniz-Institut für Meereswissenschaften, IFM-GEOMARFB3 - Marine ÖkologieKielGermany
  2. 2.UMR CNRS 5023 ‘Écologie des hydrosystèmes fluviaux’Université Lyon-1Villeurbanne cedexFrance
  3. 3.ARALEP, Écologie des Eaux DoucesDomaine Scientifique de la DouaVilleurbanne cedexFrance
  4. 4.Institut Universitaire de Médecine Sociale et PréventiveCentre d’Epidémiologie Clinique bureau 147LausanneSwitzerland